# 10 Item Wardrobe # beauty

Look Presentable Always- A Tale (and My Beauty Maintenance Routines)

Before this week's post begins, be sure to check out my video, Beauty Maintenance where I share with you my beauty upkeep secrets on a busy schedule. If you are not able to see the above video, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

... and now for this week's post:

Look Presentable Always- A Tale

(I wrote this post last summer and just came across it in my files realizing I hadn't published it yet. It is a valuable lesson on the many benefits that looking presentable always can provide...)

To dress up or not to dress up, that was the question. Or the choice, rather, that was on my mind one morning. I perused the upcoming events of the day in my head. There were none really. My husband was out of town on a business trip and my main to dos for the day involved housework and being at home with the baby. I could just put on a pair of sweatpants and call it a day… but I did have to go to the dry cleaner later. Hmmm.

Then I guiltily thought about my chapter Look Presentable Always (chapter 8 in Lessons from Madame Chic) and did not want to be a hypocrite. Furthermore, I thought of my favorite films from the 1940s. Did Ginger Rogers hang around the house in sweatpants when she was pining after Fred Astaire? Or what about Hercule Poirot, my favorite detective? He dressed to the nines for no one other than himself and did it every day (and night). And then I thought of Madame Chic, who dressed well every day and when met with doing some housework, simply donned an apron over her day clothes.

The choice was made.

I took a look at my capsule wardrobe and pulled a rather nice outfit out- my sea green linen skirt and navy stripe sailor top. I thought I would conduct an experiment and wear what I would consider a ‘nice outfit’ just for myself around the house- no husband to see me, no plans to see friends later- just for myself to look good.

After I put on my skirt and top I realized that I had to also put on makeup and do my hair otherwise the look did not feel complete. So I did a quick le no makeup look and donned my hair in a high bun (very fashionable right now and great for when you are not having a good hair day!) So there I was, all dressed up with no where to go. My baby girl looked at me and smiled- well at least someone was able to appreciate my effort.

I started out as I usually do, walking the dog and feeding the baby. I went up to the office and paid bills and did some filing and administrative work. It was all going well. I actually felt rather sophisticated doing my daily tasks in such a nice outfit! Then I started doing housework. I had to empty the dishwasher and fill it up with the dirty dishes in the sink. I had second thoughts about what I was wearing. Should I change? I didn’t want to ruin my outfit… I’m not used to cleaning in anything other than old clothes that I don’t care about. But then I remembered that Madame Chic always cleaned her house in her best clothes- she just wore an apron over them. So, I decided to stick it out. The apron worked out great and there was no dirt on my clothing. Then I tackled my hall closet. The big to-do for the day was to de-clutter it, which took about an hour. I did break a sweat but kept my apron on and in the end still looked quite nice.

When it came time to leave the house, I simply left and baby and I went to the dry cleaner, the grocery store and the local bakery. Was it my imagination or were people being extra friendly with me?

When I got home I got a call from a friend I hadn’t seen in ages- she was only a couple of minutes away from my home and wanted to see if I was around. She came over and it was lovely – we had a cup of tea and caught up and I didn’t have to apologize for my appearance!

In short, making the decision to only use the best I have and wear a nice outfit vs. a frumpy, 'comfortable' outfit was a stellar choice. We never know what our days have in store for us and it is much more fun to go through them looking fabulous. If my friend came over and I was a frumpy mess I would not have been happy. But regardless of whether I saw my friend or my husband or anyone, for that matter, dressing nicely felt good for me- and in the end that’s all that matters.

Book News

The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow is hosting a giveaway for a copy of Lessons from Madame Chic this week. Stop by the hostess' beautiful blog to enter!

So until next time... I would love to hear your thoughts on this week's topics: beauty maintenance and looking presentable always...

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Luli said...

I just adore you and your blog. My beauty regime is quite simple. I only thread my eyebrows and visit a theading salon where the ladies only thread (and do the occasional henna tattoo.) I give myself facials at home, probably every two months. I also use the sonicare facial brush every day. And I get a manicure and pedicure once a month. It's not as cheap out here as it is in San Diego, where I used to live. My hair is suffering, and I actually made a salon appointment for this Saturday for a cut and a gloss. I never spend money on my hair, so this is actually good for me. Am very excited!! Have a fab week.

Rebecca said...

I just got my eyebrows waxed for the first time and I love how they look. I can't afford to get them waxed regularly so I was thinking about investing in a pair of Tweezermans to keep them up.

I bought your book on Nook an dI really enjoyed it, especially the part about looking presentable. I try to put on a little makeup every day.

Anonymous said...

In total agreement regarding the "look presentable always" mantra. As you pointed out, when we dress for the day we're always ready for even the happy accidents! As to a beauty regimen, I like to keep it simple, and do it all at home. Since my children are now old enough to care for themselves I've chosen Friday nights as "spa night". We usually take this night just to chill after the busy week, so rarely schedule dinners or outings.

First I cleanse and exfoliate my face and clean up my eyebrow area; wash and deep condition my hair, wrapping it in a moist towel; draw a steamy bath, infused with with Epsom salts and essential lavender oil. Will relax for 15 minutes with candles and the whispery Parisian music of Carla Bruni. My favorite CD of hers is Quelqu'Un M'a Dit.

After bath will apply a green clay facial mask, mixing the remains of green tea from the day, then in my robe to read my guilty pleasure rag the Rolling Stone. Will sit for up to 45 minutes, depending on my level of absorption in the articles. After taking off the mask, tone my skin with a squeezed lemon and moisturize with grape seed oil - face and body. Then wash out my hair and let this air dry. When it's still moist will apply peppermint oil to tame and create shine as my hair is on the wavy/curly side, and this light-weight oil won't weigh it down.

Then I turn to my fingers and toes. Giving the cursory cutting and polish rehab to the toes; spending more time on my hands filing, softening and pushing back the cuticles, then polish. La fin.

I don a short bob, so cut it myself, trimming about once a month. If I don't feel like doing it myself, will take the time to make an appointment with a professional, but this happens rarely. About 3 years ago allowed myself the liberty to go gray. The gray began with the birth of my first daughter at 25, and as I'm now a women of a certain age (48) have never looked back. And receive many compliments, which only validates my choice to be real and help save our environment.


hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I read 3 more chapters this evening and cannot tell you how much I am enjoying your book! I think you are wise beyond your years!

Thank you so much for sending me your book!


Nanne said...

I have to admit that the first thing I usually do when I come home, is to put on my sweatpants. Particularly now in the wintertime when I feel the need to dress comfortable, warm and cozy when at home. However I guess I could do that without resorting to sweatpants, so thanks for the reminder and inspiration! And are you planning on making your book available as an E-book any time soon?

Bliss said...

When I go out, I do dress appropriately and have at least lip gloss and blush on--usually mascara too but if it is a quick trip out, maybe not (thank you sunglasses). But when at home, I am afraid I am very relaxed in my dress. Usually yoga pants and layered tops for warmth--old house = cold. I am usually doing housework, playing with the dog, exercising when at home so I do not dress up for that--but I still try to have my hair look presentable and have a little color on my face. Maybe some day I will try the apron technique ; ). ~~Bliss

Laura Gail said...

When you did your 10 item wardrobe posts that totally changed me. I loved how good I felt dressed in my little black pants, flats and cute top just about every day even if I didn't go anywhere. A lot of times, friends would want to get together on the fly for a playdate and I always looked pulled together. Of course being preggo now - it's a little more difficult b/c I just have to wear the maternity stuff I have and try to make it work. But after the baby comes and I lose a little weight, I plan to start that 10 item wardrobe over again.

Paula Begoun convinced me of the benefits of daily maintenance instead of once a month facials etc. So every morning I use a fresh washcloth and cold water to cleanse my face (use Paula's Choice Hydralight moisturizer and I love it for eyes and face) and then do the 5 minute face a la Carmindy. At night, I cleanse with a fresh washcloth and Olay facial cleanser for gentle/sensitive skin and I love it (the best part is that it costs $2). I can see a huge difference in my skin just from cleansing with a washcloth.

Unfortunately, manis/pedis aren't in the budget right now which could prove to be problematic because in a month I don't think I will be able to bend over my stomach to reach my toes. We may have to re-evaluate our budget at that point b/c I don't want gross toenails in the spring/summer and I'm not sure if I can teach my hubby to do them for me or not. In the meantime, I love to give myself at home manis/pedis and I use Essie Mademoiselle on my fingernails and I'm currently wearing a pale pastel purple by OPI on my toes (very fair skin looks best with pastels I have learned even if I'm in the middle of winter/of course it's 70 degrees this week in Alabama :) .

That's my routine. It's so simple and takes no time. I've come a long way from the high maintenance stuff I used to do. But I'm becoming a minimalist and the changes I have made in wardrobe, stuff, make up, not highlighting my hair and skincare just all fit together now and it's simple and manageable for this season of my life with babies. :) Blessings to you in your pregnancy!

Kathy said...

Great post Jennifer! I always feel better when I fix myself up a bit, even if I don't have any grand plans. I always find that I usually run into someone I know when doing daily errands, plus I believe that I am treated a little differently when I look presentable. Cleaning in nice clothing can be hazardous though. Yesterday I was doing a load of whites and splattered bleach on my royal blue top and now it is ruined. My husband wants to fill the spots in with blue sharpie-lol!

I am religious about beauty routines but tend to do them mostly at home. I can't go to bed without all my lotions and potions on! I usually get my hair cut about every 8 weeks. Little grays are slipping through now, so I will probably have to start going to the salon for color soon!

I need to read your book! Is it available for the ipad?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with what Kathy said. Cleaning in your nice clothes can be hazardous. I was so lucky to be wearing jeans the other day when I splattered all that Comet with bleach everywhere. I've been contemplating purchasing an apron for lighter tasks and a pair of coveralls for the heavy duty tasks (cleaning the shower, etc).

Karena said...

I am enjoying your thoughts and posts so much; so I just ordered your book! I cannot wait to start reading!


Art by Karena

sumac said...

I have long lived by your "always presentable" philosophy because somewhere in the universe there is a law which states that the wore you look when out and about, the more significant will be the person or people you will run into. Last week I stopped at my sister's work place to drop something off, and one of her coworkers asked me, "Do you ever dress casually? Do you even own a pair of jeans?" I had to laugh and tell her that I was dressed casually (slacks, shell, blazer) and that I did indeed have two pair of jeans.

Susan Mc

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Ladies I am loving the in depth commentary- merci!

Luli- Threading is fab isn't it? I'm lucky to live near a great threading salon...

Rebecca- Thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed the book.

Anon- Your Friday night spa sounds divine! How wonderful to pamper yourself like that- I need to take notes!

Hostess- Thank you! So glad you are enjoying the book!

Nanne- My book is available on the Kindle and Nook right now as eBooks hope you are able to get it. I think there are fashionable 'lounge wear' options now that are great alternatives to frumpy sweat pants. I think Barefoot Dreams does some lovely lounge clothes.

Bliss- The apron technique is really great. And it helps if you have cute aprons ;) I have a great one from Cath Kidston that I love.

Laura- I hear you with the pregnant issue. I am wearing my 10 item maternity wardrobe that is not that chic (I just refuse to buy new maternity clothes as I only have three more months- so I will stick it out!) But I long to get back into my regular clothes again and back to my regular size :)

Kathy- So sorry about your blouse! Would an apron have prevented the stains? If you have the kindle app on your iPad you should be able to download the book...

Anon- Yes I suppose if you are going to work with hazardous materials like bleach, etc. it would be wise to fully protect your clothes. Maybe place a t-shirt over your clothes while doing that task alone... or coveralls... these are all good ideas.

Karena- Thank you! Did you ever get my email I sent you a while back? Would love to discuss a giveaway for your blog...

Susan- I love it! Madame Chic never wore jeans and I often wondered the same about her. I wear jeans a lot but try to dress them up with nice elements (suede driving loafers, nice tops, blazers, best earrings, etc.)

Lacey R said...

I have been trying to not immediately change into comfy yoga clothes the moment I arrive home from work....for the most part, I have been sticking to the plan!

I am also going for regular facials (6-8 weeks), I found it has made a difference to my skin this winter and I've also started using Dermalogica skin prep scrub -- LOVE!! My esthetician gave me some samples to try after my last facial and now I am definitely buying the full size, it works great.

Anonymous said...

About 5 years ago I visited friends near Pescara, Abruzzo - off the tourist path in Italy. In the grocery store all the women were dressed nicely, typically in collared shirts, sweaters (it was March), slacks and heels. I was dressed similarly minus the heels. It was such a good feeling simply walking around that ordinary grocery store! Your "look presentable" blog puts that same feeling into words.

Besides hair salon visits every 8-10 weeks, most of my upkeep is home care. Fave products: Burts Bees Almond Milk beeswax hand creme overnight (great for cuticles), DHC Mineral Mask for facials, and Desert Essence 100% Jojoba oil for skin/hair. A few drops of 100% argan oil added to my blowdry styling product makes my hair look so healthy.

People say I'm brave for waxing my own brows. Using aloe leaf afterwards soothes any redness.
Enjoy! ~ Dee J.

Nanne said...

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I was able to download the Kindle edition of your book by installing a Kindle app on my PC, it worked like a charm! I had trouble putting the book down last night:)

Ana Mac Dowell said...

I've just finished reading your wonderful and inspiring book (kindle edition). I loved it. Since I'm passionate about Paris, that's why I decided to read it, but boy did I get much, much more!I'm from São Paulo, Brazil, am of a certain age(!)and was brought up to be presentable and almost chic, but the "laid back" culture that is so pounded on our heads through the media and other sources, makes one forget the essentials that you bring up so well and so full of humor. Thank you for making me remember that being chic is way different from being pretentious!

Anonymous said...

Today I'm "presentable always" even though it is likely the only people that will see me will be my kids. I've felt so good about myself today that I've had the energy to tackle projects I might not otherwise. I'm still working on beauty routines but it has come a long way since reading your book!

I read your book about a month ago and it was life changing for me! I now think about everything differently, from what to wear (and how to wear it), exercise, eating... everything!

I love how your book recognizes the French lifestyle is a challenge in America, and gives specific suggestions. For example, exercise! Our communities are just not set up for walking (at least here), but I've looked at my stairs and housework in a whole different way since reading your book!

Thanks so much!!!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

LR- I would love to get regular facials again- I'm going to try to make that a priority in the new year because they really do make a difference... thanks for sharing your routines!

Dee J- Love your Italy story. And yes you are brave for waxing your own brows- I can't be trusted to do that! (or I would end up with one half the length of the other :)

Nanne- Wonderful. I'm so glad you were able to download the book to your iPad I hope you enjoy it!

Ana- Thank you so much. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the book so much and how wonderful to have reader feedback from beautiful São Paulo! I hope you'll stop by the blog again

Anon- Thank you! I am so happy that you enjoyed the book so much and that it inspired you. It is wonderful to have this online community where we can share our passion for fine living together :)

annie@mostlovelythings said...

I enjoyed your video and would agree with you on all parts...as much as I would like to go the hair salon every 6 weeks...it just doesn't happen. I currently live in south OC, and was surprised that you said you have your eyebrows threaded and it's fairly inexpensive. My daughter (17) and I go once a month to Senna cosmetics to have our brows tweezed, but it seems very expensive...with a tip it's about $80 for both of us. Is threading that much less expensive?

I just noticed how long the comments are...I must get your book!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Annie- Yikes! That is expensive. No, I only pay $10 every time I get my brows threaded ($12 with tip). So yes I think you are overpaying! Have a look around- there are so many great places- especially in California. Good luck!

Nina Pundarik-Dossin said...


I just ran into your blog this evening and I am really loving what I'm reading! I have just put your book on my wish list. I have to ask you: do you ever write guest posts on French chic? :)

Best Wishes,


Mom of Many Blessings said...

What do you suggest when you have a newborn? I find it hard to dress appropriately when dealing with nursing, spit-ups, etc. I can't imagine doing it even when she begins to feed herself because of the mess. Do you just stay in an apron all day? *smiles*

Thank you!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Mom of many blessings- I always have a burp cloth on hand and an apron as well and try to make them as 'chic' as possible :)